Member Story – Tammie Howze
“Coronavirus adds an extra layer of peril for prison workers.”
Tammie Howze is just one of the medical professionals represented by Local 1000 doing work that’s both essential and fraught with danger. She’s a Unit 11 Lab Technician working at Folsom Prison.
“Conditions have changed drastically here in response to the coronavirus,” says Tammie. “Employees are being thoroughly screened for symptoms outside the gate before their work shifts.”
Tammie’s no stranger to implementing medical precautions. As a lab technician, she regularly handles blood and tissue specimens from patients. But the threat of COVID-19 has upped the ante and even more protections are called for.
“We’ve received some of the personal protective equipment we’ve requested,” Tammie said. “Goggles and masks are available, but there’s still a need for disposable gowns.
Prison management is working to limit transmission of the virus by managing inmate movement. “There’s less circulation inside the prison,” she added. “Prisoners leaving or arriving at Folsom are quarantined for 14 days.
Staff and management are closely monitoring any cases that arise. “With reduced movement of prisoners inside the facility and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting efforts, we’re hoping to keep infection at a minimum,” Tammie said.
Receiving timely, detailed information about policies and procedures is critical “It will be important to know when and where cases emerge in the prison,” Tammie said. “Identifying potential hot zones will make us all safer.”
Believing in “safety first” at home as well as at work, Tammie Howze is taking the extra steps of using gloves and a mask wherever it’s prudent, and doing laundry daily. “I don’t want to bring this virus home,” she said. “Even though my job is essential, I’m sheltering in place when I’m not working, because it’s the smart thing to do.”